Your Business Plan Outline

Why do I need a Business Plan Outline?

You've probably spent hours researching small business ideas. You probably came up with some pretty good ideas. Now, have you written any of your ideas onto paper (or a computer document)? If you haven't, you are spinning your wheels. Your business needs to start on paper, with a business plan. The business plan outline on this page will give you that start you need.

Your business plan needs to be a part of your thoughts and planning from the very beginning. Otherwise, you will forget half of your great ideas in less than two days; you'll forget 85% in six days. Don't worry about changes. Your business plan outline is your own working document; it is a tool for you to use. Change it or add to it as necessary.

Why do you need a business plan outline? That's easy. The most important purpose of your business plan is to help you to remember those great ideas and to turn them into reality. Your business plan outline is your roadmap to success when you start your home based business. It helps you to define and develop your ideas, and to remember them.

Some people think a business plan is only needed if you want to borrow money for your startup business. That's wrong. I built a successful small business without ever showing anybody my business plan. I had one before I spent any time signing contracts or even doing any real work on the business. When I offered to show it to suppliers and lenders, they didn't want to see it. They knew I had a business plan; they saw from my confidence that I knew what I was talking about – because I had a plan. It turned out that I was the only one who read the plan.

So, based on what you just read, you must realize that you are really writing this mainly, or only, for yourself. This business plan outline will guide you through the snow, rain and fog that you will run into during your road to success. It will tell you where you are and where you are going. I know it's hard to believe now, but trust me, it will help you down the road because once you put it on paper, you will remember it.

Write it on paper.

This is important because your success depends on it:

  • Even if you are the greatest computer expert in the world, write it on paper first, before you put it on your computer. The mechanical action of writing will imprint itself onto your brain cells.
  • Even if you think you can't write, put it on paper – yourself. Draw pictures if you can't write. The business plan outline will help you. Do not hire someone to write it for you. Your brain won't remember or believe what someone else writes.
  • Write in your own simple language like you were talking to yourself – you are.

Writing your Own Business Plan

We are going to make this really simple. For example, where others tell you to write a "Business Plan Executive Summary" and take two pages to describe it, we just write a two or three sentence "Introduction." They talk about Marketing Surveys, Organization and Management, Operational Management, Marketing and Sales Management, Service or Product Lines, Funding Request, Financials and more.

That's crazy. It almost sounds like I'd need a lawyer and a business accountant just to talk to myself!

Here's your Business Plan Outline

  • Introduction: "I intend to sell (rent or whatever) ______________(product or service) from __________________(home, internet or go to client). I expect to charge enough to make a profit and still be competitive with others in the field.
  • My business niche (see niche discussion) is _______________. I intend to specialize in/by, so that I will be better than others who do almost the same thing. My prices will be higher or lower because my product or service will be _____________.
  • Market: I know there are enough potential customers willing to spend money for my product/service, because I have checked with (people/ Yellow Pages/ flea market or whatever).
  • Organization: I will start doing this part-time as a sole proprietorship until I make enough to work at this full time. My spouse will help a few hours a week by ___________. My neighbor's son will deliver fliers to the local neighborhoods. When the business grows, I will form a corporation by going on line to my state's Secretary of State web site and filling out a few forms (without spending hundreds of dollars for attorneys).
  • Product or Service: I will make/buy/sell ____________. (or provide service) in this manner ___________.
  • Marketing/Sales plan: I will find customers by – (speaking at events/distributing fliers/ writing articles – explain)
  • Financials: My expected startup expenses are: $300 for inventory, $100 for supplies, $200 for books or courses to prepare myself, $299 first year web charges – or whatever. I will finance this from my savings/borrow from Dad/sell my stereo or whatever.
  • My Growth Plan: For the first three (or six or twelve) months I will work on getting started and working the bugs out of my business. Then I expect to expand by doing _____________. I will need to borrow $$, but by then, I will have experience and a track record.

That's pretty much it. So many people make it sound so complicated, that most people don't write a business plan. Also, most people who don't write a business plan fail. Actually, there is a famous quote I've heard: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Do it now

Don't let this newfound information escape your mind. Sit down now, for an hour or less, with pencil and paper and this business plan outline. That outline has eight short steps. Each step should probably take between two and four sentences – probably one page. After you write it with pencil and paper, you can type it into the computer. That will help you to edit your new business plan and polish it up. You can always change, update or expand your business plan as needed. For example, if you find a banker that has a fetish about fancy business plans, this business plan outline will help you create a fancier one.

Good job!

Now it's time to celebrate. Treat yourself to a dish of ice cream. You deserve it. By writing your business plan, you have officially started your home based business. Congratulations. You are closer to success than 90% of the people who think about starting a home based business.

Don't Stop Now!

Since our goal is to have a successful business, let's follow one accomplishment with another. While you are celebrating with your ice cream (or other treat), let's look at something else to keep our creative juices flowing. Check This Out . It could be very useful right now; especially if you haven't nailed down your business goals yet.

Good luck on turning your desires into success and happiness.

Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation... even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. Leonardo da Vinci

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. Leonardo da Vinci 

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